Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
Well May followed in the footsteps of April here with stunning long sunny days and no one but us to enjoy them. It looks very much like June is going the same way, but we are still hopeful of being open from July onwards. Read on and discover more of our plans as we all try to adapt to a new normal going forward.
Your Holiday with us in 2020
March to June bookings have been moved forward to later in 2020 or 2021. There is some talk from Government of hospitality beginning to open from 4th July. I sincerely hope we will be in that first wave. We are busy refining the concept of a “No contact holiday” that we came up with prior to lockdown, in order to provide peace of mind and safety for all our visitors going forward.
In essence this will include:
A You Tube video link to watch for showing yourself into your property on arrival and leaving at the end of your stay.
Details of how the animal feed run will work in the mornings
A slip of paper in your property, separate to our welcome booklet, detailing any significant additional events going on at Coombe Mill or in the area during your stay.
The Bluebells have been stunning this past month, from the farm to the woods beyond. They have now given way to Rhododendrons and Foxgloves indicating that summer feel truly here.
Support for our Key Workers
We have felt a little out of the loop with the clapping for the NHS and key workers which I know has been taking place in the village. Clap as hard as we like and no one will hear us in our own secluded valley. However I have created a little area of thanks in the Fairy Garden. This is something to make those passing by stop and give thanks as they wander through. The backdrop of the river, wildlife and countryside tranquillity adds to the message.
On the Farm in May
Our baby gosling is thriving
The little over protected gosling is looking like a real teenager now as she turns from baby to adult. Her fluffy feathers are beginning to be replaced by adult ones but she is still watched carefully by the adult geese.
We have a turkey chick
Our female turkey (hen) has been sitting on a clutch of eggs for weeks and we were beginning to fear she had just gone broody, but no, she hatched 3 adorable little chicks. We had quite a kafuffle removing Dad to giving Mum a chance to raise her young. However in the end we had to rescue the last little chick to hand raise ourselves. She is thriving and now off the heat lamp. Catch the whole saga on my weekly You Tube update.
Our local sheep shearer came on one of the hottest days of the month. I can only imagine how relieved the sheep must have been to see those thick coats go. The Ram is now separated from the ewes, with just our pet Lambo for company for the summer months and the lambs continue to thrive. See the morning highlights below.
The sheep look so content reunited with their lambs and without their thick coats.
With Lockdown gradually lifting we have enjoyed some wonderful beach days. There is definitely more traffic around, and the beach numbers are rising too. There is still plenty of room for social distancing and some beautiful hidden beaches to get away from it all. We hope you will soon be joining us discovering the best ones along the North Cornwall coast.
We all have the message that we need to look after the health of our planet. The amount of waste we produce is becoming a real problem. Understanding what we can recycle and reuse, what we should avoid, what is harmful and what we should encourage can be confusing. Lonely Planet kids have a super helpful book aimed at 9 – 12 year olds which looks into our plastic problem with 60 sensible ideas for how to reduce our waste and help save the earth. Read on to discover more about The Plastic Problem and for your chance to win a copy.
About The Plastic Problem
The book aims to educate the reader on the complexity of plastic. Learn the history of plastic, how and where it is used and how you can make a difference. Discover the different formats, which can be recycled, which can be reused, which are safe to eat from and so much more. It turns out only 8% of plastic is recycled around the world yet it is found in so many products from our home to our clothes.
Understanding is the first step to doing something about our plastic habit. The 60 initiatives set out in the book are both achievable and practical; an easy way to make a difference and look after our planet.
What we Love
Educational: the book is packed with useful facts in child friendly small chunks.
Engaging: From history to making a difference today, the book tackles its educational role in an interesting manner.
Activities to start right away: Everyone can play their part with the suggested tasks in the book.
Helpful actionable summary to becoming a plastic patroller.
Checklist. Tick off each of the 60 activities as you do them.
We were sent a copy of The Plastic Problem book for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Our copy of the book is available to borrow from the Coombe Mill Games Room for our holiday guests.
And just like that, May has rolled around. If you are anything like us, the hours, days and weeks have begun to merge somewhat under lockdown. Routine is out of the window, except that the animals soon make it known if we are late feeding them! I hope you are managing to stay safe, sane and enjoy the amazing spring weather in your garden or as part of your daily exercise. I have to say the farm has never looked more vibrant in spring. I’ve even taken to brining a little of the outdoors inside each day.
To those holidaying with us this year
We have now moved March, April and May bookings forward up to 12 months. Much as I’d hoped we wouldn’t need to, it does look like we will be offering this to our June bookings too. Watch out for an email from me if this applies to you.
The Easter Bunny still came to visit
Easter is one of the calendar highlights here. Our Easter egg hunt has become quite a tradition with much rushing around and clue solving. With just me here this year I had a bit of fun dressing up and creating a virtual Easter Egg Hunt. I know quite a few of you watched it; I hope you were able to follow the clues and stay one step ahead of me. If you’ve not yet tried, you can still give it a go:
On the Farm
Sally is back
Piglet has gone on holiday and Sally has returned to a lovely clean house and the freedom of her garden which she was straight out to enjoy. She has been away seeing her boyfriend for 2 cycles so we are hopeful of piglets towards the end of July. The return features in one of my weekly video lockdown updates.
Chicks on the Move
The little baby chicks have grown and moved from the small steel shed under a heat lamp into a larger half covered fox proof house where they have access to daylight, a half covered roof and a cosy bed to retreat into at night. The move was successful until we had our first night of rain. Some of them didn’t work out that half the enclosure was undercover and stood out in the rain all night. There are only 3 sensible and hardy ones remaining. I thought even chickens could work out moving into the dry, apparently not so!
Chickens all outdoors
I mentioned last month that the chickens were beginning to move from their winter home into Jurassic Park outside for summer. They are now loving the freedom to scrap at the earth and explore a much wider area. Secure perimeter fencing protects them and the ducks and geese from foxes.
Norman is in the fold
Do you remember me mentioning the young wild stag pacing the perimeter of our deer field and desperate to get inside? We named him ‘Norman no mate’ and made it our mission to attract him in with a little food each morning. Alistair (our eldest son) and I set off to try and open a gate and lure him in one evening while the rest of the deer were in another field. We were successful, but not as we thought. Norman managed to squeeze through a section of fence he had clearly been working on and missed the easy option of walking in the gate. Anyway he is now safely inside and happily running with our deer. We have patched up the fence gap, so it is it a one way journey.
Success comes to those who are patient. Goosy Gander has been diligently sitting on her clutch of eggs for weeks. It would appear not in vein, she now has a fluffy yellow gosling under her wing and all the geese are being particularly protective over her as you can see in the latest video update. She is still hopeful the rest will hatch, but I fear their time has passed.
The dry spell was a great opportunity to help the ponies with their malting coats. The loose hairs came out easily in an hour of grooming. Thanks to the bribe of carrots I even managed to trim mains and fringes. I think the ponies enjoyed it too as they have been actiting like youngsters again gallopping around the field chasing one another ever since. You can see this and more in the latest weeks video update.
With chippings to be delivered, the turkey still sitting on eggs and our lambing mid way through, there is plenty to look forward to here in May. I will continue to try and keep the videos going so you can stay up to speed with events as they happen.
Wishing you and your families a safe month ahead and hoping there will be holidays to look forward to soon.
Myths and Legends of the world is the perfect story book for children with a flair for imagination. The 21 stories in the book are based on historical narrative from ancient times. Many have a moral tale to them, inspire courage or simply explain away phenomena that were once a mystery, like a volcanic eruption. Animals, gods and goddesses form the characters in these captivating short stories.
Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
About Myths and Legends of the World
Travel through Africa, Asia, Europe and the Arctic and discover the creatures of the sea and land that were used to explain ancient history. There are some imaginative explanations for some of the big questions such as how the world was created. The stories are too farfetched to be mixed up with reality, but do give a little insight into different parts of the globe, their history, culture, climate and environment as the backdrop to the stories.
What we Love
Each story is easy to understand and captivating.
Clever Illustrations bring the myths and legends to life.
A helpful map at the start of each continent section helps the reader place the story.
Stimulates imagination, creativity and an interest in our ancient history.
We were sent a copy of Myths and Legends of the World book for the purpose of this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Our copy of the book is available to borrow from the Coombe Mill Games Room for our holiday guests.
I wasn’t going to post this month, after all, who wants to hear from me when you are worrying about day to day life under the strange lockdown rules we all find ourselves affected by. But then I decided, those who don’t want to hear can pass on by, and for those who want to keep up with news from the farm here it is. I make no secret of the fact spring is my favourite time of year here, I am simply sad that we are spending it alone.
Your Holiday this year.
If you are holidaying with us this year please don’t worry, we have been in regular contact with everyone as their holidays have approached. The first wave affected in March and April have had more than their fair share of correspondence from me as we have grappled with a fast changing list of rules and regulations. I think we finally have a formula going forward that should work for everyone. Essentially hold tight if you haven’t yet heard from us, you will from the time your balance is due. In essence we are delaying the time to pay balances till we know if your holiday will take place this year. If the government is still banning all holidays, then we are offering to move your holiday, up to 12 months ahead. If you choose to cancel your money will be lost unless the ban is lifted and your week re-lets. Don’t worry you will all be emailed.
If you are not yet part of our Facebook group I strongly recommend you join, it is where all the information goes first and there are some great ideas coming back from those in there too.
The Lockdown Feed run with just me and Farmer Nick
Someone in our Facebook group suggested that it would be lovely if we could live stream on Facebook or Instagram from the farm, sadly our WiFi doesn’t extent to the farm and mobile data in the valley is very limited. However I record a morning animal feed and upload it to Facebook which frankly blew me away in popularity. It will now hopefully be the first of many while this situation lasts. The kids and Nick are already bored of me filming them everywhere about their daily chores!
While Nick has been busy on the farm, I have been snowed under trying to keep pace with questions coming in from phone, email and all forms of social media concerning your holidays. Hopefully we now have it sorted. I’d like to say a huge thank you to many of our regular guests who went out of their way to say some lovely things in the face of a few tricky public messages. These are hard times for us all and no one wants to get back to normal and open the farm to visitors again more than we do.
Spring on the Farm
We now have 3 sets of twin lambs. Our best ever lambing season and no one here, it’s like nature is laughing at us. The dry weather arrived just in times for our lambs and all are yet to experience rain. We had a very near miss with one of our first twins were some walkers with a dog scared it onto our lake. Thankfully they told us straight away and Clio and I rushed over. I grabbed a stick to beat back the brambles it was trying to paddle through but the poor lamb was losing strength, Clio took the only option left and jumped in, scoped him up and handed him to me on the bank. We were just in time as he was giving up with his brave doggy paddle.
I do like a happy ending, after a worrying morning on our patio wrapped in towels he was up and about and taken back to Mum. We had a worrying 24 hours of him being accepted back but all ended well and they are a lovely family unit again. We should have 8 ewes still to lamb before the end of May.
We sadly lost our mature stag to a stomach abscess in February and were worried for the future of the heard. However we have a wild fallow deer running round the perimeter of the fields. We have named him Norman, and hope that by feeding him daily we will be able to attract him inside the gate at some point without letting our girls out.
Sally has gone to her boyfriend
Sally is currently away with her boyfriend so it is just piglet with us on the farm for now. We are hopeful for piglets in July. Fingers crossed we will be open again then and that you’ll be able to meet them.
Goosey Goosey Gander
Our goose is happily sitting on a clutch of eggs. We’ve yet to see if they come to anything, she as already rejected one. Last year both she and the turkey took turns to sit on the eggs, only one hatched, it was a goose, but we had to wait to the end to see who the mother was. This year we have moved the turkeys, hopefully now we will have at least one of each.
Finally, just before the virus lockdown took a grip, I had a lovely couple of days up in Birmingham for the annual Small Business Event run by Theo Paphitis. It is something I go to each year having won the award back in 2012. This year was as inspiring as ever with guest speaker and fellow Dragon’s Den member Sara Davies. I am full of enthusiasm to carry us through the next 12 months, though much of it for now is preparation for when you can finally visit us again.
What’s Not on in April!
Unusually I’m not going to add an events section for April as we all know too well there are no events taking place. That said I hope you have all stocked up on Easter Eggs and can manage an Easter egg hunt around your house or garden. I am really going to miss the annual Coombe Mill Easter Egg hunt this year followed by the junk model river sailing. Fingers crossed it will all be possible again soon. For now I’m leaving you with a beautiful photo from Bodmin Moor. This is within cycling range for me, always open, and an hour of solitude and exercise I value most days.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Emma and our children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.